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GIRL CRAZY (1932) ** ½

A young David O. Selznick produced this mostly amusing Wheeler and Woolsey comedy, based on a musical by George and Ira Gershwin.   A wealthy playboy opens up a dude ranch in a small Wild West town that’s infamous for having its sheriffs murdered in record time.  He hires his pal Slick (Robert Woolsey) to open up the gambling hall and Slick nominates his dim-witted chauffeur Jimmy (Bert Wheeler) as the new sheriff, just so he can get killed and Slick can get out of paying his bloated taxi fare.

 

The filmmakers wisely focused on the comic antics of Wheeler and Woolsey instead of the music and in turn, the flick is sprinkled with some fine moments for the team.  There’s a funny scene in which the boys dress up as Indians (“I’m an Apolis Indian from Indianapolis!”) and the climax where Woolsey tries to hypnotize a murderous cowpoke into not killing him is pretty clever too.  But my favorite part came when a dummy of a motorcycle cop got attached to the back of Wheeler’s taxi and dragged behind the car.  When a REAL motorcycle cop follows the duo, Woolsey does everything he can to get rid of the “dummy”.  Hilarity ensues.

 

Sure the flick has its share of good stuff, but it has equal amounts of doldrums.  The plot had a lot of potential, yet director William A. Seiter doesn’t really do a whole lot with the western setting.  Thankfully, the songs this time around are pretty tolerable.  What really stops the film cold though is Wheeler’s annoying little sister whose whiny voice will get on your nerves fast. 

 

The female Pony Express rider gets the best line when she says, “I take care of all the mails around here.”  (Get it, cuz it sounds like “males”?)

 

F.Y.I.:  Seiter later went on to direct films for The Marx Brothers (Room Service) as well as Abbott and Costello (Little Giant).  Look fast for a young Lon Chaney Jr. as one of the cowboys.

Comments

( 1 comment — Comment )
(Anonymous)
Feb. 5th, 2011 04:20 pm (UTC)
A year after "Girl Crazy," William Seiter directed what many consider to be Laurel & Hardy's best feature film, "Sons of the Desert." Bert Wheeler actually recommended director Seiter to Stan Laurel.
( 1 comment — Comment )

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